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19 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
Foe our first cruise on Crystal, we made the jump to a luxury line and were not disappointed, for the most part.The public areas of the ship are in top condition following a recent drydock. The furniture throughout the public areas is very ... Read More
Foe our first cruise on Crystal, we made the jump to a luxury line and were not disappointed, for the most part.The public areas of the ship are in top condition following a recent drydock. The furniture throughout the public areas is very comfortable and attractive. Our only complaints were 2: the inclusion of Corsica where there was nothing to do or to see; and the cost of excursions, e.g. $599pp for a trip to the Blue Grotto.Fortunately, one can book tours privately at much lower cost, and Corsica allowed for a day of rest. The verandah room we booked (8042) was average size but extremely well designed with numerous well-sized drawers and all the hangers one could possibly need, a large TV, roomy bathroom with double sinks and large tubes of quality toiletries. There are 2 hair dryers, an umbrella and excellent binoculars in each room. The balcony had 2 large wing chairs with deep cusions and a small table with room to move around. Dining was generally very good to excellent, with Prego being the only disappointment (chewy veal). Poerions were more generous than what we have had on HAL and Celebrity. Entertainment was pretty good. We saw 3 shows: a Billy Joel tribute band, a Broadwy revue, and a local Flamenco group in Barcelona. Staff everywhere was courteous and always helpful. Embarkation and Debarkation both went very quickly and smoothly. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We’ve sailed with Seabourn and Hapag Lloyd before and were interested to try Crystal for a short six day cruise to see how life would be on a bigger ship. In some respects Serenity was excellent. The food in the MDR, Waterside, ... Read More
We’ve sailed with Seabourn and Hapag Lloyd before and were interested to try Crystal for a short six day cruise to see how life would be on a bigger ship. In some respects Serenity was excellent. The food in the MDR, Waterside, was varied and to a very high standard. Service was quicker than Seabourn and Barbara was a wonderful waitress. Service and dining in the speciality restaurants, Prego and Umi Uma, was absolutely first class. The decor is very old fashioned though. In the Italian Prego, that is almost forgivable as there is at least some soul to it. In Umi Uma the decor is dark, soulless and like a department store restaurant in the 1980s...it really could have done with something in the recent refit. Absolutely no problems with the wonderful cuisine and good quality included wines and spirits. We had a Penthouse Suite which, although only lightly refreshed on the recent refit, was very well appointed, with lots of space and well thought out. Our butler Richard was an absolute marvel...he deserves six stars for his positive can-do attitude and for serving meals in the cabin so well. Our stewardesses were completely wonderful and the cabin was kept pristine all through. The bathroom is good but old fashioned and the Etro toiletries are poor. Topped-up chocolates were unbelievably good. Enrichment was good. Entertainment was superb...better than Seabourn, with higher production values and a great theatre. The things that were missing were hard to put a finger on. Overall it was probably the ‘holiday’ feeling and warmth that you instantly get on Seabourn and Hapag Lloyd, the overall ship design and the ability to settle into that ship easily. Many of the staff and crew were excellent on Serenity, but many were also less than engaged and tired. The crew was invisible...however the entertainment director was fantastic. The ship doesn’t flow. It’s hard to find your way around. It feels old fashioned and it shows that the recent dry dock only refreshed certain areas. The fountain in the main atrium is a tacky shopping centre disgrace. The outside areas are poorly used: the back of the buffet area is too small and unshaded; there is no pool bar and no outside evening parties. Maybe it was just the time of year? Passengers from all over the world. Mainly US, China and Japan and many in groups. Ports were good, tendering OK but not as good as on Seabourn or Hapag Lloyd. Overall, maybe we are just used to a smaller ship? We’d still come back at the right price and itinerary though! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
We were celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary and wanted a special experience so that is why we chose Crystal. We were not at all disappointed . The food was amazing the best we have ever had on a cruise ship . We also loved ... Read More
We were celebrating our 20th Wedding Anniversary and wanted a special experience so that is why we chose Crystal. We were not at all disappointed . The food was amazing the best we have ever had on a cruise ship . We also loved the buffet restaurant for breakfast and lunch so much choice the best we have ever experienced at sea. Loved that it was all inclusive and gratuities included. We enjoyed sitting in the Atrium in the evening before our meal to enjoy a pre dinner drink and the canapés they brought round. Staff were really attentive and they all seemed so genuine , nothing was too much trouble . Evening entertainment was a tad disappointing but you cannot expect London/Westend products on a cruise ship of this size. We arranged our own excursions through a cruising excursions company as the trips on Crystal were so expensive ! We would defiantly recommend Crystal for service and food . Read Less
34 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I wanted to begin by saying that in life nothing is absolutely perfect all of the time. The same applies to a cruise. With that said overall these cruises exceeded our expectations. We knew going into this that the down-side would be ... Read More
I wanted to begin by saying that in life nothing is absolutely perfect all of the time. The same applies to a cruise. With that said overall these cruises exceeded our expectations. We knew going into this that the down-side would be all ports and no sea days other than a planned arrival to one port at Noon which still isn't a sea day. As a result we knew less enrichment, less time to get to know fellow guests not staying on and that with full cruises that specialty restaurant venues would be busy. We knew that we would have to move one time. This is a review of our sailing on board Crystal Serenity between September 23, 2018 and October 14, 2018. OVERVIEW ========= Three seven day cruises comprised this back-to-back sailing . We visited 19 Mediterranean ports-of-call with no sea days over twenty-one days. Overall, we had an outstanding time between the on-board experience and the ports of call we visited. Although Serenity was going into dry-dock the day we disembarked one would never get the sense of this. The crew was focused on the present cruise, providing an outstanding experience to the guests. Almost all food items were available and the end of the cruise ended on a high note. There was not attempt to push guests off the ship on disembarkation day. THE SHIP ======= Crystal Serenity is now fifteen years old, and the ship continues to be in excellent shape. It is well maintained. Yes, there are some areas that need a makeover and also some areas needing to be detailed. Areas that have gone through makeover since the inaugural voyage include all staterooms and suites, the lido deck, the shops, portions of the casino area , the children's area, the Crystal Cove lounge and a few other areas. The upcoming dry dock will bring several changes including open seating and the conversion of the Crystal dining room to Waterside, the change from Tastes to a Silk Asian restaurant, the makeover of the Palm Court and Stardust Lounges, the addition of a nighttime restaurant on the Lido Deck, the conversion of some staterooms to suites, new flat screen televisions in all rooms and a few unannounced enhancements. The makeover of Stardust which I mentioned will provide lots of new possibilities for that room. We continue to enjoy the layout of the ship, the wrap-around promenade deck and the space to passenger ratio. When we boarded Serenity in 2005, we realized this ship was a perfect size for us; not too large and not too small. It was on that cruise that we decided to book a World Cruise. Those areas that I think will benefit the most from the dry dock will be addressed; Palm Court and Stardust. I hope that the Crystal Cove can be updated in a future dry-dock. CUISINE ======= We thoroughly enjoyed the dining experience. We dined at most of the venues with the exception of The Trident Grill and The Bistro. This is not to say that each and every item was perfect but if something was not to our liking this was an exception. Most items were very much to our liking. We enjoyed the selection of food items including its diversity. Something that is very important to us is the ease of being able to change something out whether that is how an item is cooked to ingredients in a salad. We enjoyed the wait staff in all dining venues. We have had the same Senior Waiter in the past including when our family was on board last year and on Northwest Passage. Our waiter was wonderful as well. We didn't know him from prior cruises but he was truly a gem. Our Head Waiter was wonderful. We dined at Silk Road one time and chose to eat the other two times in our room. There is no question on seven day cruises with high occupancy the specialty restaurants get very busy and IMHO work better on longer cruises with less people visiting them each evening. With that said, while very busy the waitstaff team was able to keep up with it by working as a "team". Often various dishes were served by several different waiters and this made things work. Many of the waiters have been working there since we first sailed in 2005 and have been there since 2003. Head Waiter Mario from Prego was filling in as Head Waiter on these voyages and demonstrated team work himself. We dined at Prego three times. Its busiest times were during the last part of our meals and later at night. The overall experience was wonderful and what we have come to expect from Prego; great food, cuisine, service and a wonderful dining experience. On two of the three visits I had the addition (they don't call them specials) and on the last visit the item I had for an entree didn't work for me. So I can say that twenty of twenty one dinner entrees were wonderful and one was not. That is a good statistic. We dined at Tastes two time for dinner. Both were very enjoyable. Between the two nights we tried most of the items and loved the majority of them. We keep breakfast simple. I chose not to have the birthday breakfast. We enjoyed lunch in the dining room two times. Actually if time permitted I would go each day because we love the service but with me playing paddle tennis we go to the Lido Cafe. That is the one meal that we don't linger like we do with other meals. The variety of food offered at the Lido Cafe was terrific. Since these were seven day cruises they didn't have any themed buffets. As this was a port intensive cruise and with touring many times it was not busy when we dined there other than the day that we arrived to port at Noon and it opened at 11:30 AM. We had the Vintage Room dinner and the food was terrific as was the wine and the overall experience. The difference between Symphony and Serenity is the location of the galley to each room so the food on Symphony arrives hotter than Serenity. BEVERAGES ========== We continue to enjoy the inclusive wine. It is diverse and we find it better than we have had on other cruise lines offering inclusive wine. Since inclusive rolled out a few years ago the number of spirit brands has greatly increased, as has the beer selection. As noted below Crystal has also rolled out a new drink menu. We had three different sommeliers during our sailing as they rotate each voyage. All three were very knowledgeable and two of the three I thought were excellent with one very good. The bar staff is superb. We primarily went to the Crystal Cove. One night we went to the Palm Court. One of the bartenders was a bar server in January of 2007 and when we were on Northwest Passage the year before. She hadn't seen us since then. She not only remembered our name but where we sat in the Avenue Saloon. Amazing. ENTERTAINMENT ============== The cruises featured individual artists as well as Crystal’s own team of entertainers who in our opinion are the best in the cruise industry. Since these were short cruises unlike longer cruises there were not as many shows offered at night. We didn't go to much of the evening entertainment for a couple of reasons. My only suggestion is that given the number of in-transit guests (250 continued from cruise one to cruise 2 and around 125 from cruise two to cruise three it would have been better to have varied the production shows a bit more from cruise to cruise to minimize repeat performances. There certainly are other shows that could have been performed. I understand the first show being repeated and one other one but would have avoided any other repeats. As has been the case the past couple of years we enjoyed having more than one musician in the Crystal Cove before dinner as was the case with Irina on Violin and Richard on the Piano. They are wonderful performers individually and as a duet they have amazing chemistry and just added to the overall experience when we had pre-dinner drinks. THE LOUNGES =========== We changed things up on this cruise often sitting at the bar and mainly in the Crystal Cove. In the past we rarely have sat at the bar and really enjoyed this. It provided an opportunity to speak with the various bartenders, to watch them perform their magic, to learn about all sorts of drinks, and it had the added benefit of allowing us to converse with lots of guests and many we have never sailed with. Recently Crystal rolled out a new special drink menu, which includes a focus on drinks made with gin served in Sangria Glasses. This is in vogue in some selected places on land. For me this was something new, and I enjoyed many of the drinks instead of having wine before dinner. I feel that I have a much better appreciation of differences in gin and an array of drinks. I would not have tried this if not for a few folks on this board sharing their experiences from recent cruises. THE CREW & SERVICE ================= The crew is amazing and reflects the culture we have seen since we first stepped onto our first Crystal Cruise in 2002 on the former Crystal Harmony. The crew is professional but also is very human and very welcoming and we adore them. It is that human side and feeling of family that I have not experienced on other lines. Yes, the more you sail with the crew the more you get to know them but I am reminded on that very first Crystal Cruise how in very short order I realized they were seeing us as people rather than just a number or just a suit. They truly have become our extended family. They work hard to make the experience theybest they can. We met some crew members for the very first time and in a matter of a day or two we felt the same chemistry with them as we have with so many other members of Team Serenity. INTERNET ======== This was our second cruise since full complimentary internet was rolled out. Overall we had a similar experience between this cruise and our one on Symphony in May. The overall Internet ranged from excellent to very good. Yes, there were a few times when the Internet slowed or when it was not available but this was the exception. and far better than a few years ago. With this said experiences can vary by person. Early on the first voyage a friend on-board from Cruise Critic said her Internet was poor while at that point in time ours was terrific. It could be that her room is located in an area of the ship where the connectivity is less strong as ours. Another factor can be where in the room one is using it and other factors include type of advice used and even the internet browser. I do post a lot of photos and when I post them on my blog I go with lower pixels and that allows for easy uploading of photos. Since we are not printing those photos uploading with lower pixels does not change the view of the photo on a blog on cruise critic, etc. We also experienced excellent quality when placing phone calls using a Wi-Fi connection on board the ship, using apps such as WhatsApp for phone calls, texting and even video calls. THE PORTS ========= This was a port intensive cruise as we visited 19 ports over 21 days. We enjoyed the vast majority of ports and the time spent in port. We were able to revisit ports and see many for the very first time. In short, these three cruise was a fantastic opportunity to experience a nice range of ports. We love the Mediterranean and prefer visiting this area in September/October or April/May. SHORE EXCURSIONS ================ We did one Crystal Tour, which we arranged through the Los Angeles Office, which was a tour of Florence. The tour exceeded our expectations. Our tour guide had a solid background in art so she could lead us through the artwork in the places we visited and explain what we were seeing in a way that was easy to understand. The driver was courteous and drove safely to and from and inside Florence. This is a tour we will remember for the rest of our lives. EMBARKATION/DISEMBARKATION ============================ The process of getting on and off the ship was terrific. We would have to say this was one of or the most organized disembarkations we have ever experienced. We used a Crystal private transfer. We met the Concierge at the designated time, which is 15 minutes prior to the transfer time. The vehicle was already there. The concierge took us down to the port shuttle, which took guests between the ship and the building where the luggage was being held. When we entered the building the Chief Concierge greeted us, took us to the section where are luggage was located, and one of the many porters who were all in suits took our bags and put them on a trolley. After saying our goodbyes to the Chief Concierge a Crystal representative escorted us to the vehicle waiting for us. She went over the details with the driver. When we arrived to the airport another Crystal representative who escorted us inside and verified where we would go for check-in met us. CHANGE ======= In the eighteen plus years we have been sailing Crystal and close to thirty years of cruising we have seen a lot of change. Then again the same applies to all our life experiences. Change in today's environment is coming at a faster pace than ever before. Today most of us use smart phones. Those didn't exist back in the day nor did the ability to use your own personal computers when we first sailed. On our first Crystal cruise sodas and bottled water were not included. Many of the changes have been driven by three things; Innovation by Crystal Cruises. The competitive environment. Changes demanded by people of all cruise lines. Most of us are resistant to change. We are creatures of habit. I found that at work and with people we know and see it when we cruise. Yes there are a few items we miss from those earlier days of cruising but they have been driven mainly by the three areas I mentioned. At the same time we appreciate many of the changes. I remember when inclusive was rolling out the vast majority of Crystal Society Members who we know said this would be the end. Crew would leave. How would the bar staff know your names? The service would be poor. Etc., Etc., Etc. Like most new things there were some startup issues. Slow pouring of wine. Insufficient choices of wine, beer and spirits. In time, IMHO all of this was worked out and just like other luxury lines new guests would think this is the way it has always been. On of the things I like best about inclusive is that it has made the lounges so much more social and vibrant. I also like that if you invite someone to join you there is not the issue of who pays for the drink. I also like not signing for each drink. The change to open dining is the most current of the changes. Just like inclusive this will be tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked until Crystal gets it as good as they can. I am reminded that the ships were not built with open dining in mind or for that matter the new evening dining venues. The reality though is both ships have been evolving to open dining the past couple of years. On our recent cruises many people were showing up at hours that we not the time for main or late dining and the Maitre d' was being creative to get them seated. I believe that each of us has changes that we like, some that we are indifferent and some we don't care for. That's the way changes work, but some of them that one person doesn't like another one does and again some of these are driven by people. An example of that is evening dining attire. FINAL COMMENTS =============== We have another Crystal cruise on Serenity scheduled for late December and look forward to seeing the "changes" that are being implemented in the dry-dock. We have already experienced open dining on Symphony but even this on Serenity could look slightly different based on experience gained on Symphony such as the set up of the tables at the new Serenity Waterside. After sailing this ship so many times and with Crystal Cruises frequently these back-to- back cruises still exceeded our expectations. I can't tell you how much my wife and I enjoyed these cruises. When you arrive back to the ship from port each day they say welcome home. For us that is the way we think of Crystal. Until next time. Read Less
18 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
I chose this cruise as it is the only one that Crystal do to Israel. Billed as a Holy Lands cruise, it was two weeks of luxury on-board and fascinating tours ashore. This was my 15th cruise on Crystal and, even though none of them have ... Read More
I chose this cruise as it is the only one that Crystal do to Israel. Billed as a Holy Lands cruise, it was two weeks of luxury on-board and fascinating tours ashore. This was my 15th cruise on Crystal and, even though none of them have been perfect, they have all been consistently excellent. There was a lot of negative talk on-board about the upcoming refurbishment in relation to the move from assigned dinner seatings to open dining. I enjoyed a travellers table for eight and we had a variety of interesting "visitors" each night. As a solo cruiser I really hope Crystal will figure out a way to keep this going. I sailed on Symphony in February (not solo) after their dry dock and most of the larger tables had been replaced with tables of two and four - great if you are a couple but not for the many solo travellers or those who like to join a larger table. That aside, the service in the MDR was superb, it always amazes me how they get to know you and your preferences on the first night - another aspect which will I think deteriorate with open seating. I do think that the menus aren't quite what they used to be, there were a few nights where nothing really appealed (and I don't think I am a fussy eater) I really enjoyed Tastes restaurant on the open deck, great for a late breakfast or late lunch. The lectures and most of the evening entertainment was first rate, an aspect I think Crystal have made great improvements to over the years. I also enjoyed the casino, friendly dealers but the new small denomination blackjack rules really favour the house - it was hard to win!! As always, it's the elegance of the ship, the attention and friendliness of staff and the never crowded public spaces which keep me coming back. I have two cruises booked for next May, am looking forward to the dry dock changes and hopefully they will sort out solo travellers for the MDR. Read Less
13 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2018
Israel has recently become a popular destination for cruise ships. Some ships stop 3 days in Haifa, some stop 1 day in Ashdod followed by 2 more days in Haifa. I and my wife have tried both ways, and I am now reporting on the ... Read More
Israel has recently become a popular destination for cruise ships. Some ships stop 3 days in Haifa, some stop 1 day in Ashdod followed by 2 more days in Haifa. I and my wife have tried both ways, and I am now reporting on the differences. In 2017, we were on the Oceania Marina that started in Athens and ended in Athens, with 3 days in Haifa. That was fairly good, but was tiring and we felt we did not see enough from the big 50-seater coaches. This year we went again, but on the Crystal Serenity, that started in Civitavecchia and ended in Civitavecchia. It first stopped in Ashdod for 1 night, followed by 2 more nights in Haifa. This time we used a private minibus, was more relaxed, and we saw much more. On the Oceania trip, we took group tours on a coach arranged by the ship. We visited Jerusalem on the first day, Masada on the second day, Nazareth and the Galilee on the third day. This was basically satisfactory, but the coach was a 50-seater, and could not go through the narrow old streets to get close to some historical sights. So, we had to view some sights from a distance or from the mountain top. Also, the trips from Haifa to Jerusalem and Masada were separate trips, and each took 4 hours each way, so that was somewhat tiring. On the Crystal trip, we fortunately were with a group of 10 friends. So, we pre-hired a Mini-bus, from the internet, with a professional English-speaking guide, and a qualified driver, for about US $100 per person, per day, which was much cheaper than the ship’s price. This turned out much better, as we were more relaxed, and able to get to many more sights than with the larger coach. This is how we did it. About 4 months before the cruise, we hired a local Israeli touring company from the internet, www.GuidedToursIsrael.com , which proved to be very satisfactory. In the morning and early afternoon of the first day, we visited Jerusalem. In the late afternoon, we visited the northern part of the Dead Sea. The only disadvantage was we had to walk down many steps to get to the water front. In Jerusalem, we saw many sights including: The Western Wall, The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, The Temple Mount with the golden dome, The Dome of the Rock, The Golden Tomb, Tower of David Museum, Garden of Gethsethmane, Jaffa Gate, City of David, King David’s Tomb, and the narrow, cobbled shopping streets of old Jerusalem. On the second day, from Haifa, we visited northern Israel, including Nazareth and the Sea of Galillee. Nazareth is mostly a Muslim city. We were able to go inside the Basilica of the Annunciation, which is a must, and the St. Joseph’s catholic church. We also went to the baptismal site in the Jordan river. On the third day, we went to Tel Aviv, saw the center of the city, the many hotels, government buildings, and also the location where Yitzak Rabin was assassinated, as well as the beaches on the Mediterranean coast, including ancient Roman amphitheater. My advice is, if possible, try to visit Israel on a minibus with a small private group. Peter Fan. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2018
We took a cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity for our Honeymoon. It couldn't have been better. We've been dreaming of the day we could return. Then we did, for our ten year anniversary. What a let down. Our luggage was ... Read More
We took a cruise aboard the Crystal Serenity for our Honeymoon. It couldn't have been better. We've been dreaming of the day we could return. Then we did, for our ten year anniversary. What a let down. Our luggage was 'lost' in Heathrow. We didn't get it back for 8 days (out of a 12 day cruise). I understand the lost luggage wasn't Crystal's fault, but if I'm paying $1,000/day, I expect some level of service. We got the concierge to make a few pathetic attempts at phone calls. Other than that, it was on us. We spent 8 days standing at the concierge desk making phone calls from their 'landline'. We sent emails all day long. When we went ashore for the day, all we had time to do was shop for whatever clothes we would need for that night and next day. Crystal did nothing to help. Crystal did nothing to accommodate us. How about a shipboard credit to help buy clothes and toiletries? How about a massage? How about assisting with out laundry (we spent 2 hours every night in the laundry room)? How about trying to find our luggage???? In the end, they sent me a toothbrush, toothpaste and deodorant. Gee, thanks. The ship was nice, and mostly well maintained. It is definitely due for refurb. The food was lousy, cheap, bland, mushy and tasteless. Maybe they are still used to catering to the elderly. My wife and I took to ordering two of each course, as we knew at least one would be inedible. The room service menu was a joke. Couldn't order breakfast other than once. Limited menu that was accessible only if you are not leaving for an excursion. Hello, room service, I'd like an omlette. Sorry, it's too late, but you can have scrambled eggs. Seriously? Don't they know an omelette is scrambled eggs with some stuff inside? Again, I'm paying $1,000/day to be there. Felt more like I was staying at a Holiday Inn. The waitstaff were rude. Why am I on board this 'luxury' ship, and the watier is a jerk? But it wasn't one bad seed, it was most of them. We actually had good service and food for dinner at Tastes. Their 'Nobu' restaurant.... not even close. It was fine, but I've had comparable sushi at the grocery store. There was one good thing was the booze. Thank god it was free, and there was plenty of it. Otherwise, I may have thrown someone overboard! All in all, Crystal is not what it used to be, especially for the price. Look elsewhere. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
Have been on several Crystal cruises before, always on the Symphony. First time on the Serenity, first time in each of these ports (Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice, Barcelona, Ibiza, Monte Carlo). I can't say enough about the service ... Read More
Have been on several Crystal cruises before, always on the Symphony. First time on the Serenity, first time in each of these ports (Rome, Florence/Pisa, Nice, Barcelona, Ibiza, Monte Carlo). I can't say enough about the service on Crystal: not overly fussy, but always attentive, and very personal. The crew seems to love their work, and enjoy working with each other, which makes a pleasant experience all around. There is always so much to do on board: art lessons, bridge classes, enrichment talks, movies, golf lessons. The food in every restaurant is superb. Cabins are comfortable -- we've been on Regent cruises a few times, and their cabins are spectacular. Crystal's cabins are still very nice, though! A wide variety of Crystal-backed excursions, each with in-depth and accurate descriptions. We did some excursions, and also did some exploring on our own. Every port was lovely, and we enjoyed every single adventure. Crystal's customer service and attention to detail is superb. Here's a perfect example: we were tendered in Monte Carlo, requiring the use of the life boats to shuttle folks in and out of the port. In the early afternoon, the wind and rough waters caused a temporary halt to the shuttles, for about 2 hours -- for safety reasons. When we finally got on board the ship, the Captain and about 10 crew men were there to assist, and we were immediately told that Crystal was putting a $50 per person credit into our onboard account, as an apology for missing lunch on board the ship. Everyone who was delayed received the same credit -- without even asking for it! That type of customer care is amazing -- and it builds loyalty. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2017
We booked the cruise when Egypt was on the itinerary and had 4 friends book with us. When Egypt was pulled, it was too bad Crystal did not add another day in Israel instead of wasting the time on Cyprus and Shalalah, Oman (no offense to ... Read More
We booked the cruise when Egypt was on the itinerary and had 4 friends book with us. When Egypt was pulled, it was too bad Crystal did not add another day in Israel instead of wasting the time on Cyprus and Shalalah, Oman (no offense to anyone). Regarding the ship, for the most part, well done. But it is difficult to understand how they left the option on the stateroom TVs out with respect to CC. As a result, you had to turn up the TV to hear (if you have a problem--I do) and the wall partitions with the TVs is paper thin and our neighbor could hear us and we them. The entertainment started off slowly but quickly picked up pace and was excellent as the cruise went on. Crystal's staff continues to excel and made the cruise very nice. Fix the few problems (I hope) and we'll be back. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
We are a healthy, active couple in our mid-sixties who choose cruises based on the itinerary. One of our "bucket list" destinations was the Amalfi coast and this cruise made stops at both Sorrento & Amalfi. We took ... Read More
We are a healthy, active couple in our mid-sixties who choose cruises based on the itinerary. One of our "bucket list" destinations was the Amalfi coast and this cruise made stops at both Sorrento & Amalfi. We took excursions arranged by the ship and excursions with outside providers. The ship's excursions were fine and we enjoyed them. We did have rough seas on the stop at Amalfi which made entering and exiting the tenders difficult (and there were a few injuries as a result). We also prefer a smaller ship and the Crystal Symphony is just the right size. It never felt crowded and it is quiet, but there is plenty to do if you want to be busy. Our cruise had quite a diversity of passengers. According to the captain, 32 nationalities were represented among the passengers. There was also quite a mixture of ages, although probably most were over 60. But there were a number of younger people and even a few children younger than school age. We had a C1 cabin on the promenade deck, which was very nice (see the cabin review for details). The food was good, especially at Prego, and there was a large variety. You could certainly eat healthily if you wished to. Would have liked longer hours for lunch & dinner at the Lido Cafe & Trident Grill, though. We don't gamble, so the casino was wasted on us. The other entertainment was adequate. The only activity that we participated in was the pre-destination lectures, which were informative and entertaining, if fairly brief and broad. They are broadcast over the ship's TV channel if you miss them. We would have enjoyed more frequent and more in-depth lectures about our destinations. The service and staff were pleasant and attentive. Unlike previous cruises, the staff is very diverse (the captain said 49 nations were represented in the staff). All the staff works hard and it shows. The ship is immaculate. We thoroughly enjoyed the cruise and look forward to another cruise with Crystal. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2016
We chose Chrystal Symphony because of recommendations by friends who had been in Crystal cruises before. Negative experience with disembarkation: we were assigned to Orange 1, and left the ship at 7am. When we arrived at the Venice ... Read More
We chose Chrystal Symphony because of recommendations by friends who had been in Crystal cruises before. Negative experience with disembarkation: we were assigned to Orange 1, and left the ship at 7am. When we arrived at the Venice airport, we had to wait for about 15-20 min for our luggage to arrive. We were told there were misunderstandings regarding the transportation of our luggage (which were collected at 10pm on the previous evening). This should not have happened. The stateroom is well equipped. However, the bathroom washbasins are way too small. Perhaps installing one bigger washbasin instead of two will be better. This suggestion is for your newer ships. We're quite happy with the experiences going ashore: when we leave the ship and when we return to the ship. The staff have been quite courteous and helpful. We're also quite happy with the entertainment: particularly the comedian Jon Courtenay. It will be useful to have a Chinese specialty restaurant. Read Less
7 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
First class cruise with 1st class people.Cannot say anything bad about anything! Loved the ship, very elegant. Loved loved loved the crew. Some have been on the ship for years. The food was outstanding,although I wasn't as impressed ... Read More
First class cruise with 1st class people.Cannot say anything bad about anything! Loved the ship, very elegant. Loved loved loved the crew. Some have been on the ship for years. The food was outstanding,although I wasn't as impressed with Silk Road as I had expected to be. The entertainment and the shows very good with talented dancers. Loved the lectures of the places we docked although thought they could have been a little more detailed. The few excursions that we went on with Crystal were excellent.All the guides were clear and easy to understand. I would have liked to see an option with a smaller tour group. It was either offered as a private tour or a larger group tour. I would have been happy to pay more and have a group of 8-10. No complaints about anything. You get what you pay for. Crystal is an excellent value for an excellent experience. Go! Now! Read Less
9 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our first Crystal cruise. We have cruised several other cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, RCI and Carnival. We chose Crystal for this cruise because we normally cruise with our children and we wanted to do something special ... Read More
This was our first Crystal cruise. We have cruised several other cruise lines including Celebrity, HAL, RCI and Carnival. We chose Crystal for this cruise because we normally cruise with our children and we wanted to do something special for our romantic 20th anniverisary just for the two of us. We had an amazing three day precruise stay in Rome. On embarkation day, we had beautiful weather. The embarkation process was extremely smooth and easy. My evaluation in a nutshell: Cabin: We had a GTY cabin and received a category upgrade. We had a Deluxe Verandah Stateroom on Deck 10. The loaction was excellent. It was near the elevator and stairs. Easy access to everything. The decor was lovely. Very elegant and subtle. We had a nice verandah with comfortable furniture. Lots of storage space and a great bathroom with 2 sinks. I didn't give the cabin five stars only due to space issues. For the price point, more space would be nice. Dining: Dining on Crystal is extremely refined . The quality of the ingredients and the care in the presentation is apparent in each morsel served. In the main dining room, there are 2 sides of the menu with traditional and modern cuisine. All very good. We enjoyed our meals at the specialty restaurants: Prego, Silk Road and Tastes. Our favorite was Tastes, a casual dining option with creative and flavorful dishes. Our only criticism of the dining on Crystal was the relative lack of options if you wanted a casual dining option or wanted to eat a later lunch after coming back from shore excursions. I loved the ice cream and the coffee at the Bistro. Service: Service shines on Crystal. Absolutely impeccable in every aspect. Kudos to Crystal. Activities: The enrichment speakers were truly outstanding. I actually learned a lot on my vacation! The Magic Castle and evening entertainment were all very well done.I did feel that this was an area that the bigger ships do have a bit of an edge ( barring the enrichment was is superior on Crystal). Public Spaces: The ship was perfect,y maintained. The decor was thenepitomy of quiet elegance. Lots of quiet areas tonrelax and read or enjoy a drink. Never had a feeling of crowding. Just an oasis of relaxation. Spa Services: I had an excellent massage with no hard sell at the end...a welcome change from other cruise lines. The Ports: We had incredible luck. Perfect weather throughout the cruise and wonderful ports. All were enjoyable. Malta, Sorrento, Santorini, Ephesus, Taormina, Rhodes, and Istanbul. We loved having overnights in Malta, Sorrento and Istanbul as it gave us more time to explore. Excellent itinerary. Disembarkation: We disembarked in Istanbul. It was quite chaotic. Not sure how much control Crystal had over the process there. We enjoyed 4 extra days in Istanbul . A pity it has been cancelled as a cruise destination by most major lines. We loved Crystal and have booked a cruise i. juky for our entire family. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2015
This was our third cruise and first on Crystal Serenity so we are fairly new to cruising. We embarked in Rome and the process was effortless. Disembarkation in Istanbul was terrible. We left the ship about 9:30 am and stood in line for ... Read More
This was our third cruise and first on Crystal Serenity so we are fairly new to cruising. We embarked in Rome and the process was effortless. Disembarkation in Istanbul was terrible. We left the ship about 9:30 am and stood in line for about two hours to go through passport control. We had prearranged transportation to our hotel in Istanbul and that was perfect although a bit chaotic. I was disappointment in both restaurants. The food at Prego was ordinary at best as was the service. I really enjoyed Tastes. We chose the open seating because we preferred to be free to dine when we wish. Our friends were disappointed that with open dining, we would be seated as a twosome or foursome when we ate together. In hindsight, they would have enjoyed sitting at a table for 8 so they could to meet new people. We would enjoy either. The ship was simply perfect for us. The weather this time of year couldn't have been better. I arranged most of our excursions independently of the ship and they were perfect. The Port of Sorrento was lovely. I have been to Pompeii and Capri before, so my husband and I chose to wonder on our own. Capri was crazy crowded and with several ships in port, it was a nightmare of chaos. Sorrento was lovely the next day as I think most people take the other excursions and miss how lovely Sorrento is. Entertainment was good, although we preferred to go to our room and relax after a busy, busy day. Overall a wonderful cruise. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2015
As avid independent travelers, my wife and I never thought we were cruise people. In fact we steadfastly resisted any suggestion of a cruise. Then the flyer arrived in the mail - we simply could not resist. Our experience on the Crystal ... Read More
As avid independent travelers, my wife and I never thought we were cruise people. In fact we steadfastly resisted any suggestion of a cruise. Then the flyer arrived in the mail - we simply could not resist. Our experience on the Crystal Serenity was absolutely impeccably perfect. All staff was extremely helpful and friendly - we felt like they were members of our family by the time we disembarked. A few highlights: - The dual dining choices in the main dining room (modern and classic) were perfect. We often mixed and matched, but in general the appetizers and deserts on the modern side were highlights. - Tastes is really so much more than "casual dining". The variety and quality of the tapas style dishes were exquisite and the service perfect and attentive. - Prego's lasagna is the best we've ever had. Yes I would have blushed to say I was ordering lasagna at such an exquisite Italian restaurant - but it was absolutely mouth wateringly good. - Silk Road has terrific, imaginative Asian fare. We were glad to have gone, but as we were more wine themed, we didn't repeat. - Crystal Cove is the perfect hide away very late at night - friendly staff, beautiful, quiet atmosphere. The ship itself is very clean and well maintained - everything is well thought out. Can't think of a thing we would change. We mostly took part in private shore excursions, but the one that we took from Crystal (Malta's Pre-historic Sites) was well organized with a fantastic local guide. Truly a terrific experience as the site we visited is extremely hard to book in advance. Frosch's wine theme was so special. We were lucky enough to have both Heitz and Kapcsandy on board pouring their magnificent wines. This added an extra dimension to dinner that is hard to overestimate. Also, the fellow wine enthusiasts were terrific to get to know. Disembarkation was orderly, easy - only problem is that it was so sad to leave. We loved the experience so much on Crystal Serenity that we are tempted to go somewhere that we are *less* interested in so we can spend more time on the ship. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2014
We are a couple in our mid-40's, and this was our first time on the Crystal Serenity. This is our second time on a luxury ship though, as we have cruised on the Silver Wind before. Embarkation at Ciitavechhia was speedy and ... Read More
We are a couple in our mid-40's, and this was our first time on the Crystal Serenity. This is our second time on a luxury ship though, as we have cruised on the Silver Wind before. Embarkation at Ciitavechhia was speedy and efficient. We found our stateroom with a balcony to be very clean, and the bed and beddings were quite plush and comfortable, especially after a long flight. The food was the best thing about this cruise- we ate once at Prego, and twice at Silk Road. I know many customers book this ship just to eat at Silk Road. The second best thing was the unlimited alcohol! The sommeliers and bartenders were the best. Activities were varied, and kept us occupied. The guest lecturers were excellent. The only strange thing was that all the musicians and bands stop playing at 6pm sharp and don't resume until 7:30, so for this period of time it's a completely quiet ship. I suggest that management stagger the dinner breaks, so that there's always at least one venue with live music. Regarding the entertainment, we had to watch the Crystal Singers & Dancers three times on a 6-night cruise, and that was a bit much. The gym is up-to-date, and open 24 hours. The library is well-stocked. Service in the specialty restaurants was impeccable; but the staff in the main dining room was a bit harrassed. Housekeeping was inconsistent, sometimes late, so we just learned everyday to ask them to clean our room when we went for our shore excursions. They were stingy with the Aveda toilet amenities, and would not replace them unless we asked, even if they were clearly almost used up. On the Silver Wind, the Bulgari soaps/shampoos/conditioners are replenished twice a day. Disembarkation was smooth. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Friendly staff learned my name and even remembered my orders for breakfast and in bars. Entertainment included impressive circus type act, magic show, outstanding strings music group (that remembered requests and played songs on following ... Read More
Friendly staff learned my name and even remembered my orders for breakfast and in bars. Entertainment included impressive circus type act, magic show, outstanding strings music group (that remembered requests and played songs on following days as well); in addition to traditional acts. In Prego had the best swordfish I have ever tasted, In Silk Road and sushi bar enjoyed miso cod, salmon, california rolls, and more with outstanding service. one of hightlights of cruise. Chris,DJ in Pulse played current hits for dancing with a younger crowd. Chris remembered requests and played them other nights as well. Enjoyed the spin/bike classes offered in the spa disappointed they are adding a $30 fee for Prego, Silk road and sushi bar, only negative comment Crystal deserved 1st place rating in Travel and Leisure, better experience than Cunard, Princess,Holland etc. I will recommend Crystal.   Read Less
Sail Date: November 2013
Friendly staff learned my name and even remembered my orders for breakfast and in bars. Entertainment included impressive circus type act, magic show, outstanding strings music group (that remembered requests and played songs on following ... Read More
Friendly staff learned my name and even remembered my orders for breakfast and in bars. Entertainment included impressive circus type act, magic show, outstanding strings music group (that remembered requests and played songs on following days as well); in addition to traditional acts. In Prego had the best swordfish I have ever tasted, In Silk Road and sushi bar enjoyed miso cod, salmon, california rolls, and more with outstanding service. one of hightlights of cruise. Chris,DJ in Pulse played current hits for dancing with a younger crowd. Chris remembered requests and played them other nights as well. Enjoyed the spin/bike classes offered in the spa disappointed they are adding a $30 fee for Prego, Silk road and sushi bar, only negative comment Crystal deserved 1st place rating in Travel and Leisure, better experience than Cunard, Princess,Holland etc. I will recommend Crystal.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2013
This was our fourth Crystal cruise and our second on board the Crystal Symphony. Our first ever Crystal cruise was on the Symphony in 2005 and, as it has undergone many refits since then, we were looking forward to seeing the changes. We ... Read More
This was our fourth Crystal cruise and our second on board the Crystal Symphony. Our first ever Crystal cruise was on the Symphony in 2005 and, as it has undergone many refits since then, we were looking forward to seeing the changes. We have cruised on the Crystal Serenity in both 2011 and 2012 and hoped we would enjoy this holiday as much as on those occasions. We were certainly not disappointed. We spent two nights in Rome prior to joining the ship and this helped us unwind from the hassle of the flights and transfers, and also to get in the holiday mood. We would always recommend staying at least one night prior to the cruise either in, or near to, the embarkation port. Embarkation Day We made our own way by train to Civitavecchia to join the ship; however, we had pre-booked our tickets and seats via the Internet before leaving home so it was all quite easy and stress free, apart from the sheer volume of people in Rome's Termini Station that morning. Arriving in Civitavecchia, we soon made our way to the port entrance and were soon aboard the Crystal shuttle bus heading to the cruise terminal. Although the embarkation desks were not yet open, as we were perhaps a bit early, it was a great relief that we were able immediately to leave our cases in a separate holding area ready for loading by the crew. After a short wait we were able to check in and get aboard where the final check-in procedures were carried out quickly and efficiently. We were then free to have lunch in the Trident grill, which we washed down with a very welcome glass of champagne, and our holiday had begun. By the time we had finished lunch and met some fellow passengers, our stateroom was ready and we were able to unpack and relax by the pool. Our stateroom was located on Deck 5, just behind the Concierge Desk, and in the end it proved to be a very handy location for all the amenities. The Ship As the layout of the ship is more or less the same as on the Serenity', we found it easy to find our bearings and get around. We preferred the layout of both the 'Crystal Cove' and 'Avenue Saloon' bars here, compared to those on the 'Serenity', as we found them more user- friendly. We also visited the 'Lux' nightclub most evenings and our only slight criticism would be its common access into the Casino area. All the public areas throughout the ship were spotlessly clean as usual; however, we were never really aware of the army of staff who were responsible for keeping it that way. The exterior of the ship was perhaps starting to look a bit jaded with very obvious rust patches and dirty marks caused by the oily ropes; however, we only really noticed these when travelling on the tender boats. Our Stateroom Stewardess (Chan) looked after us very well and kept us well supplied with towels and ice. Food and drinks As always, the standard of the food on board was excellent in all the eating venues. We loved to have breakfast and lunch outside in the Lido caf' where the food was always fresh and of great variety. We particularly loved the days when special themed meals were laid on, such as the Oriental buffet and the Kebab lunch when chefs from Istanbul were brought on board to cook and serve. Very different and so tasty. It was amusing to see the reaction of one American guest who perused the food at the Kebab lunch and then turned away in disdain uttering in a stage whisper 'Oh it's all Turkish' ' the poor Turkish chef just shrugged his shoulders and we all thought ' Dah , you are in Istanbul !' We had dinner every evening in the Main Dining Room, apart from two nights when we ate in the 'Prego' restaurant, and the menu choice and standard food was superb. Even my partner, who tends to prefer plain foods, was tempted to try different things and loved them all- especially the desserts of course! Our Dining Room Head Waiter (Allwyn) and his assistant (Franklin) were simply fantastic and treated us so well the whole time. Both were so attentive and friendly that we looked forward to seeing them every evening. We also had great craic with our excellent Brazilian Sommelier (Luiz) and our Maitre' D (Mariko). The standard of the wines served in both the Main Dining Room and at 'Prego' were first class. We went to 'Prego' twice during the cruise, including one occasion with three new- found friends, and can honestly say they were the best experiences we have ever had at a 'Prego' restaurant on either the Symphony or Serenity. The food was excellent as usual but the staff were so friendly and helpful that it really made the whole experience very relaxed and special. Afternoon tea in 'The Bistro', with cakes of course, was our daily wicked indulgence. We felt that the layout of 'The Bistro' was perhaps better on the 'Serenity' than on this ship, and that the positioning of the buffet island in the centre of the space tended to cause congestion at times. Our favourite bars were 'Crystal Cove' and 'the Avenue Saloon', mainly due to the great staff working there. We always had pre-dinner drinks in 'Crystal Cove' and had great craic with the bar staff, Paula and Camilla, who were not only very good at their job but they made us feel like old friends. We would invariably meet the same guests there every night as they also loved the relaxed, friendly atmosphere fostered by all the staff. A special thank you to Nilo who was always tempting us with delicious hors d'oeuvres and just before dinner too! We liked to go to the 'Avenue Saloon' after dinner as it was a very comfortable place to relax and chat with fellow guests. Here again, all the bar staff were just so efficient and attentive, especially Eduardo and Marco. It still amazes me that from day one staff would remember our names, and even what we liked to drink. The 'Lux' nightclub was also a regular late night haunt for us however, there did seem to be a problem with underage drinkers on most nights, despite the DJ's repeated warnings on the subject. We would have found it hard to determine the age of some of the teenagers on board, let alone the poor bar staff who may have found it difficult to question the age of guests. We appreciate that there may be little for teenagers to do in the evenings on cruise ships and perhaps this is something which Crystal might consider addressing for the future. One of our fellow guests asked if the ship would host a 'Friends of Dorothy' get together for the gay and lesbian guests on board and we were delighted when they agreed. It was held one evening before dinner in the 'Lux' nightclub, complete with nibbles, and was greatly appreciated by all those who attended. We feel that the move to 'all inclusive' last year continues to be a great innovation and, rather than guests over indulging, in our experience it has had the opposite effect and everyone seemed to drink sensibly and in moderation. The Ports of Call All our previous Crystal cruises had been around the Mediterranean and we chose this particular cruise mainly because it was visiting unusual ports and countries which were new to us. We really enjoyed all the ports, except for Constanta in Romania (of which more later), and were very pleasantly surprised and impressed with Odessa, Yalta and Sochi. Odessa was a very grand city which had a very relaxed and safe atmosphere with some beautiful buildings and was easy to get around. Yalta was also not what we had expected ' in a good way. We opted to take the 'Sochi Highlights' excursion when we got to Russia and were astounded by the beauty of the city and its surrounding countryside. It was so green and lush that it was hard to believe that this was actually in Russia. The highlight of the tour was a visit to Stalin's dacha on the outskirts of Sochi and was a fascinating insight into that period of history. We were very fortunate to have an excellent tour guide called Olga who not only knew her facts but was passionate, and at times emotional, about her city and country. It is sad to report that our visit to Constanta in Romania was less than pleasant. We did not have high expectations prior to the visit and unfortunately they were well founded. Constanta can only be described as very grim and as soon as we stepped off the shuttle bus in the town centre we realised that it had little to commend it. There were virtually no proper roads or pavements, just mounds of stones and rubble everywhere making it difficult and dangerous to walk. We did not feel safe in any sense during our entire time there and, after a very brief walkabout, decided to hot foot it back to the safety of the ship. During the shuttle bus journey back to the ship we met two fellow guests who had just been almost robbed of their cameras in the main street. Luckily, both men were of a large build and were able to fend off the would- be thieves, however, they were still shaken by the experience and were also beating a hasty retreat back to the ship. On returning to the ship we subsequently heard that another guest had not been quite so fortunate and that he had in fact been robbed that same morning in the town centre. Presumably these incidents will have been reported to the Concierge/Security staff on the ship. We did not meet anyone who visited Constanta that day who would ever want to return there. We would recommend that Crystal seriously reviews the suitability of Constanta as a port of call on any future 'Black Sea' cruises. Our cruise ended in Istanbul and unfortunately we only had a very brief time to see the city but would be keen to return on a future occasion. Entertainment We are not avid show goers so cannot really comment on them. We still did miss the live band playing in the afternoons on the Lido deck, especially at sail away. Even some music from the DJ would have added to the atmosphere. The Crew The crew, as ever, made the whole cruise special and, although we have mentioned by name those with whom we probably had the most contact, we must praise all crew for their efficiency, friendliness and patience. . They are Crystal's biggest asset. It is perhaps a little sad that the entertainers from the shows are not just so friendly and tend to keep very much to themselves, rather than interact with the guests. Overall cruise experience This was a very relaxing and enjoyable cruise and we loved every minute. We met some great fellow passengers with whom we are still in contact and we look forward to planning our next Crystal cruise in 2014. Keep up the good work Crystal! Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
As a lover of luxury cruises I was really hoping to add another cruise line like Crystal to my list of favourites. However, the reality is that,as hard as this line tries to market itself to the all inclusive cruiser, it does not match ... Read More
As a lover of luxury cruises I was really hoping to add another cruise line like Crystal to my list of favourites. However, the reality is that,as hard as this line tries to market itself to the all inclusive cruiser, it does not match this marketing with its delivery. Embarkation in Rome was easy and quick, but it was certainly the first time I have not been greeted with a welcome or a glass of champagne. The atrium of the Serenity was very tasteful and the public areas to begin with appeared in good order. We were shown straight to our veranda stateroom, which was again not furnished with any kind of welcome drinks etc. the room was also very small, and we had to take in in turns to get dressed in the evening as there was so little space. The bathroom was fairly well appointed, although we had to call housekeeping on several occasions to ask for amenities to be replenished, even after asking the stewardess. Upon putting our cases under the bed I found someone else's dirty slippers there,which led to further in depth scrutiny of our small cabin, which was by no means cleaned to the levels we have been used to on Seabourn or Silversea. I called at reception and met with the head of housekeeping who inspected the room and found it to be unsatisfactory on a number of levels, from dusty side units to a dirty carpet. This should not have been left to us to deal with!!! Our broken fridge never got repaired and we gave up reporting it! The pool area was pleasant but there were far too many sunbeds around and people were crammed in like sardines,there were a few attendants who we had to chase around on several occasions in order to get a drink, not good. The lido buffet was ok, but after seeing the same old salad after thre or four days, things go repetitive and very boring. On the whole lido was pretty uninspiring and there was never anyone around to get drinks orders in breakfast or lunch. The main dining room, was pretty awful in general, and on the two occasions we ate there they didnt seem to know how not to cremate any meat or fish they cooked, so we didn't bother. The silk road and Prego were the only decent dining venues on board, food here was outstanding and served with finesse. Service wise, not what we are used to and no one seemed happy to serve, things were all too much for the majority of crystals staff, I came to the conclusion that the all inclusive set up had put many noses out of joint and they were all sulking at the lack of tips they were no longer getting. Drinks service was pretty non existent, and I have never overheard so many saying this was a self service ship. Other service or staff encountered,especially officers, who we are used to speaking to on Seabourn, would not speak and could only ethier be found at the ice cream parlour or in large groups drinking cocktails in the bars, not mixing with clientelle I add. This happened on sooo many occasions, we felt it was wholly inappropriate considering recent cruising disasters. Officers would also take up three of four tables in speciality restaurants, which was unfair as fellow cruisers couldn't get into these venues! Other staff we're unnecessarilly rude to passengers and we witnessed several really bad episodes with fellow passengers. O ne particular day, a passenger beside me in the lift could not get it to go to the lido level, so got out the lift and asked politely if the lift could be fixed, as it had been not working properly for a few days. Member of staff replied, well why don't you just walk there!! A typical crystal reply,far from 6 star!! Afternoon tea, especially the Mozart tea, was revered by Crystal, so we were looking forward to attending, at 3.30. We arrived, at 3.27 and I asked the staff member if I could have some tea and a scone, there was no one else in the room and he said no, we are not open until 3.30! Everything was laid out and he was stood waiting to serve, it was just inappropriate use of language every step of the way,with a lot of the crew. Just so pedantic, no need for it. Oh,and the scones were appalling, I love afternoon tea and didn't bother even going again,it was so poor. And finally, the smoking, oh dear, the nice bars were unusable in the evenings,as the smoke was so overpowering, I know this is changing, but it is at far too overdue. As you can probably tell, we were really disappointed with Crystal and we cannot understand why it receives all of the accolades it does. Fellow well travelled cruisers rated most lines including, Seabourn,Silversea and Oceania above crystal, and we all felt very let down by the line. Those who really liked it seemed to have tried nothing else or had come from Carnival, so it would obviously be an improvement! I am glad we tried Crystal, because we can now comment on it, but I really think they are going to struggle to keep up with the Genuine six star lines, as service and personality are lacking in bucket loads. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2006
Background: First time Crystal Cruiser and Mediterranean itinerary. Previous cruise experiences have been with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL in the Caribbean and repositioning NW Pacific coast. Live in the southeast US. Age bracket: ... Read More
Background: First time Crystal Cruiser and Mediterranean itinerary. Previous cruise experiences have been with Carnival, Royal Caribbean and NCL in the Caribbean and repositioning NW Pacific coast. Live in the southeast US. Age bracket: mid 50's. Female. Married. Frequently travel single or with one other friend (husband doesn't cruise) Ship information: I found the Serenity to be a beautiful, well thought out ship. Although she is considered a large ship, the layout was open yet comfortable and easily negotiated. Lot's of nice nook and crannies to seek out. Many activities to choose from along with a great deal of diversity. I personally enjoyed the art classes, well stocked library (books & dvd's), guest lecturers, afternoon teas and the spa. Dining: Main dining room was pleasant, well staffed and was there to not only accommodate each individual need, but to surpass your expectations. Found the chef choices in particular to be on the salty side so learned quickly to either ask for no salt or low sodium dishes. They were also happy to individualize orders such as making an appetizer into a main course and the opposite. Other Dining Options: ROOM SERVICE - There is not a designated room service, your cabin attendant handles this.... if one uses this service frequently (I did each morning) I highly suggest you add to the gratuity... these folks work very very hard and provide quality service 24/7. Bistro - good place to come during the day for a great snack, coffee (they offer all types of speciality coffees at no additional charge (non alcoholic). Prego - Wonderful service, food, wine..... best lamb I've ever had! Silk Road - Again great service, food and wine. Buffets - didn't participate, but heard from others it was quite good. Trident Grill: I recommend the Veggie burger, Tuna Melt and the Chicken Caesar Salad. Entertainment: The Galaxy Lounge venue was where the big shows were performed was laid out nicely and very comfortable. Entertainment was very enjoyable and not overdone like some "Vegas Wanna Be's" I've seen on some ships. The Variety entertainment was good as well, Gary the cruise director also performed as a ventriloquist and was surprisingly very entertaining. (Not usually my cup of tea, enjoy those good surprises). Music and dancing before and after dinner was nice. I noted having four Ambassador Hosts onboard was a plus for many ladies. Launderettes, complimentary self-service launderettes was very nice (decks 7-11) Included washing machines, detergents, fabric softeners, dryers, irons and ironing boards) Embarkation and Disembarkation: Well organized. NUMBER ONE point: Top of the line, quality SERVICE throughout the entire ship, venue and each and every crew member I came in contact with. 6 plus star! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2004
We recently sailed from Rome to Athens on board the Crystal Serenity. We had a good trip overall, and it has to be said that the Serenity is a handsome ship- if larger than our normal choice of ship. Although we normally prefer smaller ... Read More
We recently sailed from Rome to Athens on board the Crystal Serenity. We had a good trip overall, and it has to be said that the Serenity is a handsome ship- if larger than our normal choice of ship. Although we normally prefer smaller ships like Silversea, we had travelled once before on the Crystal Symphony, so we knew what to expect from Crystal, and overall our experience was consistent. One area where Crystal excels seems to be in transfers, embarkation and ground arrangements. The embarkation process was very smooth with Crystal staff easy to identify in the baggage hall of Fiumicino airport. Upon arrival at the ship, check in was quick and the staff were very friendly and welcoming. Having previously sailed in a penthouse, this time we had opted for a bog standard veranda cabin. It was obviously smaller than our previous Crystal "home", but you get what you pay for. It was also smaller that the Silversea equivalent, but well appointed, comfortable and well sound-proofed. The colour scheme was a bit mad, but everything looked new and luxurious. The bathrooms on the Serenity are the most handsome I have seen at sea. They are simply breathtaking and very spacious. Unfortunately this seems to impinge upon closet space- there is no separate walk-in closet- but we were ok for a 12 day hop around the Med. One nice touch in each suite is a book recalling the inaugural voyage. There is also a DVD player which I enjoyed using. The ship has an atmosphere very akin to that of a hotel- I really like that personally- and I think that the Crystal Cove is a beautiful space. However, some guests were lamenting the lack of a "ship" feel, but that is down to a personal preference. The ship was not full which left plenty of room for sunbathing, and the pool was simply delicious- heated to perfection. The jacuzzis were too hot to get in! There were about 40 children on the ship, but they were mainly to be found in the excellent child facilities that Crystal offer. In my view, the Crystal Serenity has one weakness- but it is a biggie- namely the Crystal Dining Room. The decor is gloomy and drab- dark carpet, dark blue upholstery and dark wood walls- really grim- and not conducive to a pleasant atmosphere. Whatever claims Crystal make about "fine dining" in the brochure- don't believe it! The restaurant is simply too hectic and noisy. It reminded me of an upmarket UK motorway service station! The ship was operating on single seating as it was not full. But the noise of clattering plates and cutlery, together with the normal restaurant hubbub was intolerable. On top of this the service was frenetic, rushed and often sloppy. I am not blaming the restaurant staff, all of whom were friendly and tried hard, but something is not working in the restaurant. The food started off quite average but improved considerably during the trip, but this is not a "fine dining" experience. The practice of serenading diners is intrusive and embarrassing, and the baked alaska parade is a throwback from the 70's and again, simply not compatible with a "fine dining" experience. The restaurant was much better for lunch when not so frequented, and overall the food was good. I really liked the late breakfast in the Tastes cafe- great for those of us who sleep in. I must applaud Crystal for the low carb options that they offer- this is a superb idea for people like me who are doing a low carb diet- way to go! We tried the Silk Road a few times- it was imaginative food, well presented, but not as good as the superb "Jade Garden" aboard the Symphony. I also think that the $6 gratuity for the alternative restaurant is a bit of a cheek. But the staff were great and they deserved it. Speaking of gratuities, as UK passengers, our gratuities are pre-paid, but I really think that on a ship of the calibre of Crystal, gratuities should be included for everyone. The activities onboard were imaginative and well thought out. I did a watercolour class, but there were lots of other options too that seemed to be a cut above the usual cruise fare. The itinerary was varied, but we left each port at around 6pm- far too early! This is the best time of day in the Med to go ashore and have a stroll when the heat of the day is fading- but of course we had to leave so that everyone could go and get dolled up for the Captain's cocktail party or whatever. The ship is very smooth and stable and offers a "hotel like" experience which I enjoyed. But the restaurant is a major weakness, and I am wondering if I will repeat the Crystal experience in the future. Thanks for reading my review Read Less
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